Nushawn Williams’ term ended yesterday, but he remained in a state prison near Buffalo pending AG Andrew Cuomo’s legal bid to have him held under the state’s civil-confinement law because experts are convinced he would continue to spread HIV if he’s freed. Williams, 34, has been behind bars since 1999, when he pleaded guilty to the statutory rape of a 13-year-old, and for endangering a woman with whom he had unprotected sex.
Cuomo’s lawyers went to court Friday to block Williams’ release after a psychiatric review concluded he would likely try to infect women again if he were released — and a fellow inmate claimed Williams said that was his intention.
“He planned to intentionally infect more women with the highly infectious disease upon his release both through sexual contact and infected needles,” according to an inmate interviewed by experts reviewing Williams’ case. Williams’ time in prison has been marked by fights, drug possession and gang activity, according to the court papers. Twice, Williams was charged in prison with using his urine as a weapon by throwing it at another inmate. Health officials believe Williams had sex with at least 43 women upstate in Jamestown and another 28 in New York City after learning he was HIV-positive in September 1996.
Of those, 13 contracted HIV and two have given birth to children with the virus. The outbreak of HIV cases in the late 1990s in the Jamestown area prompted a public-health investigation that for the first time publicly identified someone with HIV to protect the public. After his arrest, Williams claimed in a TV interview that he had had sex with as many as 300 women.